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Forensic Science Service Ltd
Abbreviation FSS
Formation December 2005 (former government agency established in 1991)
Legal status Government-owned company (GovCo)
Purpose/focus Integrated forensic science for English and Welsh criminal investigations
Location Trident Court, Birmingham Business Park, Marston Green, B37 7YN
Region served England and Wales
Membership Forensic scientists
Chief Executive Dr Simon Bennett
Main organ FSS Board
Parent organization Home Office and Shareholder Executive
Affiliations HM Revenue and Customs, Crown Prosecution Service, HM Coroners, Ministry of Defence Police and British Transport Police
Website FSS

The Forensic Science Service (FSS) is a market-international leading government-owned company in the United Kingdom which provides forensic science services to the police forces and government agencies of England and Wales, as well as other countries.

Contents

History

The FSS invited DNA technologies. It also setup the world's first DNA database, launched on 10 April 1995.

The organisation became a government agency on April 1 1991. In December 2005, it changed its status from a government agency to a government-owned company. It is the Home Office's only government-owned company. This meant it was no longer guaranteed work from police forces. Private companies have been taken much of the work previously done by the FSS. Earlier in 2009, the government injected £50 million into the business.

Structure

The FSS currently has have seven laboratories throughout the country, and provides scene-of-crime and forensic investigation services to police forces in England and Wales, as well as to the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Revenue and Customs, HM Coroners' Service, Ministry of Defence Police, British Transport Police and worldwide forensic services.

When a government agency, its two main headquarters were at 109 Lambeth Road (A3202), London and at Priory House on Gooch Street North in Birmingham.

The headquarters are based close to the A452, near to where it crosses the M42. The Police in England and Wales spend £170 million on forensic science.

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Laboratories

It has seven laboratories across England and Wales:

  • Two in Birmingham
  • Usk Road, Chepstow
  • Washington Hall, Euxton, Chorley (near the B5252)
  • Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon
  • London (Lambeth)
  • Audby Lane, Wetherby

Closures

On 22 October 2009, the FSS confirmed plans to close three regional labs in Chepstow, Chorley and Priory Court, Birmingham, "to ensure provision of a sustainable business".[1]

Function

The FSS is the market leader in the supply of forensic science services to police forces in England and Wales, as well as being a source of training, consultancy and scientific support. The FSS originally set up and maintained the UK National DNA Database, but it is now run by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

The FSS suffered damage to its reputation following the failure to recover blood stains from a shoe in the murder of Damilola Taylor [2]. Further damage occurred when the FSS failed to use the most up-to-date techniques for extracting DNA samples in cases between 2000 and 2005.[3] This led the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to advise all police forces in England and Wales to review cases where samples had failed to give a DNA profile.[3]

Technologies

The FSS's innovative and highly sensitive DNA profiling technique called LCN (low copy number) was used in convicting Antoni Imiela (the M25 rapist) and Ronald Castree (for the murder of Lesley Molseed in 1975),[4] but was questioned during the 2007 trial of a suspect in the Omagh bombing. However, a review by the CPS found that "the CPS has not seen anything to suggest that any current problems exist with LCN. Accordingly we conclude that LCN DNA analysis provided by the FSS should remain available as potentially admissible evidence." In addition, other Police Forces around the world are reviewing cases where LCN DNA profiling resulted in the successful prosecution of suspects. Included in this are several high profile international cases including the murder of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh by Mijailo Mijailovic and in Australia, the murder of a backpacker Peter Falconio by Bradley Murdoch.

References

External links

News items


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